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Consumer Demand For Antioxidants Has Outpaced Scientific Knowledge

Date:
December 19, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Consumer demand for dietary supplements containing large amounts of plant-based antioxidants has outpaced scientific knowledge on the actual health benefits, best dosages, and risks of those phytochemicals, according to a new article.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, but a scientist who studies the disease-fighting compounds says that more research is needed to determine their exact impact on human health.
Credit: Courtesy of USDA-ARS, Scott Bauer

Consumer demand for dietary supplements containing large amounts of plant-based antioxidants has outpaced scientific knowledge on the actual health benefits, best dosages, and risks of those phytochemicals, according to an editorial in the December issue of ACS' Molecular Pharmaceutics.

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It is part of a special edition of the journal devoted to research on phytochemicals, substances found in fruits and vegetables, which show promise in preventing cancer, aging, heart disease and other conditions.

Guest Editor Ming Hu issues "a call to arms" for more relevant research on antioxidants, especially in the high doses used in dietary supplements. Many past studies on the potential health benefits of these compounds have been done in animals and their exact effects in humans are uncertain, he notes, without adequate attention to bioavailability -- how much of a dose actually can be used by the body -- and how phytochemicals interact with prescription drugs.

Hu calls for more studies exploring how these antioxidants are utilized in the body, particularly by targeted areas such as the heart and breast tissue. He notes, for example, that millions of women in the United States are taking soy-based phytoestrogens to relieve menopausal symptoms. Recent studies, however, found that a compound in soy might stimulate the growth of breast cancer.

"Commentary: Bioavailability of Flavonoids and Polyphenols -- Call to Arms"


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Consumer Demand For Antioxidants Has Outpaced Scientific Knowledge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217092932.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, December 19). Consumer Demand For Antioxidants Has Outpaced Scientific Knowledge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217092932.htm
American Chemical Society. "Consumer Demand For Antioxidants Has Outpaced Scientific Knowledge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217092932.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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